Tag Archive | "Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami"

In a ‘Celebration of the Possible,’ UM Inducts New Heritage Society Members

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In a ‘Celebration of the Possible,’ UM Inducts New Heritage Society Members

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

UM Motion Picture Students

From left are film students Italome Ohikhuare, Zulena Segarra-Berrios, Nicholas Katzenbach, Amanda Quintos, Joseph Picozzi, and Laura Falcone.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 13, 2015) – Could the next Steven Spielberg or Kathryn Bigelow already be enrolled at the University of Miami?

After viewing short clips from some of the films produced by students in the School of Communication’s Department of Cinema and Interactive Media, many of the guests at a recent UM donor recognition event probably think so, and for good reason. The films—which range from a movie about a goofy but brilliant college student who is recruited to help the CIA on a top-secret mission, to a story about a man who realizes that Cuba is no place to raise a child and concocts a plan to become a “Marielito”—took top honors at UM’s recent ’Canes Film Showcase and are now headed to Los Angeles, where they will be screened for top Hollywood producers.

Planned gifts sometimes play a major role in helping such students achieve success, and on May 13, in a ceremony UM President Donna E. Shalala described as “a celebration of the possible,” UM honored those who have made planned gifts to or included UM in their estate plans, when the University hosted its 26th annual Heritage Society Luncheon.

“People who do planned giving really are optimistic,” Shalala said at the induction ceremony, a luncheon held in the first-floor ballroom of the Newman Alumni Center. “They not only have faith in a better future but are making sure they’re a part of making [that future] happen.”

During the luncheon, attendees got a look at that future in the form of the five, young student filmmakers who were in attendance, and they learned about the School of Communication’s plans for a $2 million interactive media center that will house a student-run agency offering advertising, design, public relations, Web, and other services.

Guests also learned about the tremendous impact of UM’s Heritage Society. Since it was established in 1988, more than 1,500 philanthropists have joined the organization, making gifts that Shalala said have a transformative impact on the University.

Over the years, UM faculty and staff have been well represented among the society’s membership, and at the May 13 ceremony, two representatives from the University’s workforce—one a newcomer, the other a recent retiree—were inducted.

Rodolphe el-Khoury, who last year became dean of UM’s School of Architecture, made a planned gift that will support a much-needed design studio building at the school.

“We’re really a collection of buildings, and we think of ourselves as a campus within a campus,” said el-Khoury, noting that many of the school’s classrooms—part of a Marion Manley-designed network of structures originally built as housing for returning World War II veterans—can accommodate only small classes. “We lack the big studio space where our students can work together in large groups. And that’s what the new building will offer—a gigantic area where they can work on their projects and see and learn from what their peers are doing.”

The future Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building, so named for the president and CEO of the major South Florida builder, Coastal Construction, which pledged $3.5 million for its creation, will include presentation areas, review spaces, and a computer lab. El-Khoury believes his planned gift in support of the building speaks louder than anything else “I could do to demonstrate my commitment to our school’s cause.”

New Heritage Society inductee Norman C. Parsons Jr., the former executive director of wellness and recreation whose name became synonymous with “health and fitness” over his 43 years at the University, directed his planned gift to a UM athletics program he hopes will be revived one day. “The U needs a men’s golf team, and I pray it happens soon,” said Parsons, who coached the sport to national prominence in the 1980s before it was dropped in 1993.

Parsons, who could not attend the ceremony, said he hopes “many others will join me in this most important endeavor.”

It is an endeavor that lays a “foundation for the future,” said Shalala. Some planned gifts have been pledged so long ago that sometimes they fall off the radar, eventually benefiting the University when least expected. “Every once in a while, a gift pops up that we actually didn’t know about, from a person who years ago had a wonderful experience at the University—either as a student or parent, or they received care at our medical center—and never forgot the wonderful contribution we made,” said Shalala. “Some of our largest gifts have come from people who have put us in their estate plans.”

She noted that during the Momentum2 campaign, UM focused more attention on this area of philanthropy, securing more than $270 million in planned giving. “For a young university, that’s a tremendous achievement that will benefit future generations,” said Shalala.

Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs, echoed Shalala’s remarks, noting that the institution has exceeded its goal for endowment giving and that such giving helps fund programs in perpetuity that range from professorships to student scholarships.

Said Gonzalez, “Planned giving touches lives.”


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Faculty and Staff Support the U: Media Management Expert Feels the Thrill of Changing Times, and Helping Others

Michel Dupagne

Michel Dupagne

Professor Michel Dupagne, Ph.D., recognizes the importance of scholarships in helping talented students in the School of Communication achieve their dreams. In 2005, he and his brother Alain established the Lucy Chatelain Endowed Communication Scholarship in memory of their mother. “I believe that providing scholarships to those in financial need is critical to the long-term success of the University of Miami,” he says. “I have been privileged to serve on the faculty for more than two decades, and it is a pleasure to support our future scholars.”

Dupagne is a nationally recognized leader in the small but growing field of media management, which focuses on the business side of the media industry. “We are trying to gain a better understanding of how the media industry is changing and evolving in the digital age,” he says. In keeping with that goal, Dupagne will earn an M.B.A. in management from the School of Business Administration in December.

“The media industry continues to splinter, moving away from its traditional focus on the mass markets toward almost every type of niche market you can imagine,” he says. “Advances in technology, such as streaming video, are also disrupting traditional business models, since consumers can now bypass a cable or satellite TV provider and get video content directly from an online site.”

Dupagne joined the School of Communication in 1994, after earning his doctorate in mass communications with a business minor from Indiana University. Since then, he has studied new communication technologies, international communication, media economics, and other issues. He also has conducted award-winning research on such topics as consumer high-definition television diffusion and educational use of podcasting. He coauthored the book High-Definition Television: A Global Perspective, and serves on the editorial boards of the American Communication Journal, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journal of Media Economics, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

“This is a thrilling time to be in media management,” says Dupagne. “I feel very grateful that our University has supported my teaching and research, allowing me to develop professionally through the years. Now is a great time for me to give something back, and I encourage other faculty members and employees to contribute as well. Together, we can really make a difference.”

Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.

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Frost School Benefactors Donate $1 Million to Rename Community Music Program for President Shalala

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 18, 2015) — The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music’s naming benefactors, Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost, have donated $1 million to support and rename the school’s highly effective Frost MusicReach community music program in honor of UM President Donna E. Shalala, who will step down at the end of the 2015 academic year.

In early December, the Frosts surprised Dean Shelton G. Berg with the news of the gift at the Frost School’s annual holiday gala fundraiser, Winter Wonderful. The announcement was made after the performance of Frost School of Music undergraduate mentors and their young mentees from the outreach program. Proceeds from the holiday gala fund music mentoring scholarships. The Frosts’ new $1 million gift is the largest commitment to the MusicReach program and is in support of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

In its seventh year, the program, now known as the Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, provides free weekly hands-on music instruction to more than 450 elementary, middle, and high school students in Miami-Dade County, taught by Frost School students. Thanks to this new gift from the Frosts, The Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program will annually serve more than 1,500 youth.

“I can’t think of a better way to honor President Shalala and her legacy than to have one of the crown jewel programs of the Frost School of Music to be named in her honor,” Phillip Frost said. “The Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program at the Frost School of Music exemplifies excellence and meaningful community engagement, and those are both legacies of her 14 years leading UM.”

“We witnessed the strong bond that developed between the young mentors and their younger mentees and understand how much it means to assist the younger students,” Patricia Frost said. “Since Dean Berg arrived on campus, President Shalala has been a strong supporter of his work, and we thought it would be nice to honor her association with the Frost School by dedicating a program in her name that combines academic excellence and strengthens the community.”

President Shalala said she is deeply honored by the Frosts’ extraordinary gesture. “By ensuring the Shalala MusicReach Program’s continued success in our community, they created a culture of music and learning that spans the educational continuum from primary to post-secondary and beyond. I am proud this vital and vibrant outreach effort will continue my legacy,” Shalala said.

When Berg arrived at UM eight years ago from Los Angeles, his goal was to establish a large community music outreach program similar to the one he had founded as a professor of music at the University of Southern California. In addition to assisting young students to excel, Berg also “wanted to inspire undergraduate music majors at UM to engage in community service in proximity to campus, with the hope of instilling a lifelong commitment to serving others.”

“Learning to play a musical instrument provides a proven, positive experience on every level for children, from enhanced self-esteem to improved neurologic development,” said Berg. “We are all grateful for this generous gift from Phillip and Patricia Frost as it validates our collective efforts and President Shalala’s to enhance the vibrancy of our community.”

Today more than 40 Frost undergraduate and graduate students and four graduate teaching assistant supervisors provide semi-private music lessons, life mentoring, and group instruction in local public school and community centers. The program, funded predominantly through private donations, is administered by UM Frost School alumna Melissa Lesniak, Ph.D., former executive director of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony.

Phillip and Patricia Frost have contributed generously to UM, including their naming gift for the music school in 2003, and their support continues. A new state-of-the-art Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios complex, which has more than 77 individual teaching and chamber music studios plus large classrooms for percussion and contemporary music production, opened last month. It is the first LEED Platinum building to open in the city of Coral Gables. Phillip Frost, M.D., is a UM trustee and served as chairman of the UM Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2004.

The Frosts have also contributed to other educational institutions in the South Florida region, including the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami, currently under construction.

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UM Dedicates Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a Facility In Harmony with Its Musical Mission

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 20, 2015) – A soprano whose voice dazzled judges at a recent major metropolitan opera competition, Ana Collado has had her share of memorable rehearsals at the University of Miami’s Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music, but none quite like the session she recently experienced.

“I felt free,” said the UM vocal performance major. “I could sing without feeling like I had to push to hear my sound come back.”

Credit the acoustics and soundproofing of the Frost School’s new state-of-the-art teaching studios for her freedom. With independent walls, floors, and ceilings, each studio is, according to Frost School Dean Shelton “Shelly” Berg, a “floating box within a box,” allowing students to practice and learn without having to hear the percussionist, brass, or string artist practicing next door.

On a cool South Florida Friday, hundreds of music lovers got a firsthand look at those high-tech rooms when UM dedicated its new Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios, a 41,089-square-foot twin-building complex that will unite the school’s 770 students and 125 faculty “like never before,” said Berg.

“There’s no question this is going to have a huge impact,” Berg said of the new facility. “A lot of our faculty were teaching in practice rooms instead of real teaching studios. Now, they have the best teaching studios in the country.”

Among the features: 77 chamber music and teaching studios, two oversized rehearsal halls, a reception and information center, and a furnished breezeway. Designed by award-winning architects Yann Weymouth and HOK and built by Skansa USA, the facility is touted as the first building project in Coral Gables designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with sustainable features such as energy-efficient windows, rooftop solar panels, and cisterns that reduce water and electricity usage.

The complex is part of UM’s Momentum2 campaign and is made possible by the benefactors, Phillip and Patricia Frost, whose landmark gift back in 2003 renamed UM’s music school in their honor. Featuring a new grand entrance into the school, the studios honor Patricia Frost’s lifelong commitment to music education as an elementary school principal and higher education advocate.

“[The Frosts] care deeply about producing and driving excellence wherever they go,” said UM Board of Trustees Chairman Stuart A. Miller.

“Today is indeed pitch perfect and beautifully orchestrated,” UM President Donna E. Shalala said at the dedication. “Our students now have the state-of-the-art studios they need to truly blossom as musicians.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was also among those who spoke at the dedication ceremony, which included several musical performances by students.

The new chamber music and teaching studios are a significant upgrade over the Bertha Foster Memorial Music Building’s old 8-foot x 10-foot rooms, many of which were not being used for practice sessions at all but for private teaching lessons, forcing students to compete for scarce rehearsal space.

Students began taking lessons and practicing in the new facility last week, giving it a musical christening in advance of Friday’s dedication ceremony.

Bassoonist Julia Paine, a Stamps Distinguished Ensemble Scholar and member of the Stamps Woodwind Quintet, had her first lesson in one of the studios last Thursday and was impressed with the improved quality of sound and the larger space. “The previous studio I worked in was carpeted, and the sound was absorbed by the floor,” she explained. “These new studios are all wood floored and provide enough space so if you are running through a piece with a pianist, you can make eye contact or simply see the other person’s body movement. This is huge because it makes rehearsal much more efficient, as you can rely on your eyes and ears.”

Stamps Music Scholar Sarah Huesman, who started playing the cello when she was 6, explored the Frost Studios complex before she even had a chance to practice there. The UM freshman is thrilled about its opening “because I have the next four years ahead of me to improve my musical skills in this beautiful new building,” she said.

Huesman and other students who have years of Frost School of Music instruction ahead of them are among the first to be immersed in the school’s new experiential music curriculum built around chamber music.

“Rather than sitting in large lectures talking about the various things they’ll need to be able to do as a musicians—composing, arranging, improvising—they’re placed in small groups that are essentially little laboratories for doing all of those things,” said Berg, adding that the Frost School’s new curriculum will be “fully realized” now that the Frost Music Studios have opened.

“I’m going to walk though this building for the rest of my time as dean and see students in the space they deserve,” said Berg.

All of the UM music school’s faculty have moved into their teaching studios inside the new buildings, making it the first time they have all been under one roof. In past years, they were scattered as far away as the Pentland House on Dickenson Drive and in another building on Brescia Avenue. They are now admittedly ecstatic about being together in one place—a situation they believe will foster greater collaboration.

“I enjoyed my office in Pentland, but it was isolated,” said Dorothy Hindman, assistant professor of theory and composition. “I am now surrounded by my colleagues, and seeing them casually is a huge boost to my sense of collegiality. I have an energizing space where I can teach my students and see them similarly energized. The space is large enough that I can teach small seminars of up to six students, which is hugely beneficial to the graduate student courses I teach.”

Rafael M. Padron, who teaches classical guitar, a delicate instrument, said his students will benefit immensely from the studios’ acoustics and ability to minimize external noise.

Associate Professor Trudy Kane teaches another delicate instrument—flute—that requires her students not be affected by surrounding noise during practice sessions. She called the new studios’ acoustics and soundproofing “fabulous.”

“The sounds that are produced are more realistic,” she said. “I no longer hear all the music, however wonderful it may have been, being produced in the neighboring studios. Now, I can give my full attention to my students.”

Film and concert music composer Carlos Rivera, who teaches in the Creative American Music Program, did not even have an office before the Frost Music Studios opened. He used one of the on-campus Starbucks to meet with his students. Now, he is in the Skanska USA Classroom that doubles as an office and teaching studio with rehearsal space and recording and mixing capabilities. He admits that he welled up the first time he walked into his new digs.

“I really did get emotional,” he said. “It hit me that this was going to be my space to work in, and it’s a big one, and we’ll be able to have real classes…and not have to worry about sound from another room bleeding into our studio.”

Steven Moore, the Frost School’s associate dean for undergraduate studies, may have said it best: “Now, the music school of the future will have a building of the future that is in harmony with its mission.”

University Communications intern Renee Reneau contributed to this story.


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Cuban Heritage Collection Receives $2M to Expand Its ‘Home Away from Home’

By Barbara Gutierrez and Sarah Block
UM News


The Goizueta Pavilion’s exhibition gallery features Espejo de Paciencia, a mural by Humberto Calzada.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2015) – In 2010, Anita Casavantes Bradford, a doctoral student at the University of California, San Diego, came to Miami to conduct historical research at the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) as part of the inaugural class of the Graduate Fellowship Program.

Her work, and that of many other emerging scholars who have taken part in the program, recently inspired a $2 million gift from The Goizueta Foundation that will lead to the program’s expansion and permanent establishment at the CHC. Read the full story

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